How to Start Duck Hunting

Submitted by: Caleb Wilds

WARNING! Duck hunting can be highly addictive and may change the way you spend your time, money and energy!

If you want to learn the art of duck hunting there are a few basics you need to get started.  I’m not going to lie, it is possible to go to your local sporting goods store and buy a dozen duck decoys and go to your honey hole and have a good hunt. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. But what I am going to recommend is going to help you have more enjoyable, successful hunts.

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When someone asks me about duck hunting the first thing I say is once you start it is hard to stop. The second is I am serious. I have converted a lot of deer hunters into duck hunters. The third thing I tell them is before you go out and spend a lot of money on decoys, waders and other hunting accessories go on a couple hunts first and see if you really do like it. Even though I love it! It is not cut out for everyone.

Ask a buddy- Having a friend who knows what they are doing is a big asset to have when you first start out. Even if you don’t have waders, decoys or even a spot to go to they more than likely will. So you won’t have to worry about wading in the water to retrieve ducks and decoys or where to go. They might even have a pair of waders you can borrow. The other bright side is it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the do’s and don’ts. I can’t emphasize enough on asking questions. Because the more you know the better chance you will have of having a successful hunt when you go out on your own. A friend can also help you identify breeds of duck you are shooting and help make sure you are hunting within the regulations.

If you don’t have a friend to show you the ropes the second thing I recommend is go on a guided hunt or two. They are professionals and more than likely the reason they are guiding hunts is they know what they are doing and usually have a high success rate. Another good thing about being guided is the only thing you need to bring is you and your gun and it will give you a taste of the sport. Again ask a lot of questions. Learn as much as you can and they will usually have good pointers for beginners.

Places to Hunt- If you don’t have anywhere to go hunting go online and look for public hunting lands. You can usually find lakes that allow hunting to the public. But if you want a little less competition spend a little time and gas and drive around looking for waterfowl and once you found them ask the property owner for permission. You might get told no a few times. But you will never find a place unless you ask. Offer your services to help around the property doing work in exchange for permission to hunt will also help you get your foot in the door.

Decoys- A dozen decoys to start out should do. I will recommend getting mallard decoys as they are the most persistent breed of ducks in North America and most other breeds will land with mallards. Don’t forget a decoy bag. In a perfect world I always recommend setting up with the wind at your back and set the decoys in a U or hook with the biggest group closest to you. I know it is not always possible so you can set up with the wind coming from your side and never set up with the wind blowing in your face.

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Remember do your homework and scout ahead. You can have all the decoys in the world and the ducks still won’t come if you are not where they want to be. The only point of decoys is to get them to land where you want.

Concealment- You will never shoot any ducks if you stick out like a sore thumb. Use natural grasses and vegetation when you are building  a duck blind. Ducks have very good eye sight and can see color better than we do and depend on that to keep them safe. Also having a roof or some sort of cover over your head  will help hide you more and come  in handy later in season when the birds become more weary and fly around a couple of times before committing.

Shotguns and Shells- There are an assortment of shotguns and ammo to choose from and you really can’t go wrong with any. You don’t have the best of the best shotguns that are semi automatic and chamber three and half inch shells. A 12 gauge pump that chambers three inch shell will do just fine. In fact many hunters use a pump and brag about their dependability. It’s also important to pattern test your gun to see what shell and choke combination gives you the best result. If you have to choose one choke I recommend a modified for most beginners and many waterfowl hunters prefer them. Try and refrain from sky busting. Even if you are having a bad day, all that results in is wasted shells and injured birds that you will not retrieve. Remember no lead!

Waders- Wader’s one of the most important things to have when duck hunting. A pair of hip waders will get you around. But a good pair of chest waders will get you all most anywhere. Waders aren’t a thing to go cheap on either. Go ahead and spend the money and buy a good pair with at least 800 grams of insulation. The more insulation the better! If you don’t you will get cold and miserable and give up before you even get started.

wilds_studio5Calls- Buy a double reed and instructional CD. You will be able to learn while you drive around. Even if you are only able to give a quack it will help make your spread look more realistic. The number one mistake most novice callers make is they call too much and you are better off leaving it at home until you become a decent caller and understand how it should be used.

Conservation- Once you get hooked I recommend that you get involved in waterfowl conservation. They do a lot great things for the sport and make sure that great duck hunting will be here for years to come.

Swap Out

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Rating: 10/10 Comfort and Versatile.

As lanyards start to take a positive ascent in the world of game call accessories, one great manufacture continues to stay ahead of the game.  Heavy Hauler Outdoor Gear and their “Swap Out” lanyard has got to be the most versatile and comfortable quality lanyard I have ever worn.

Call lanyards have become extremely abundant during the last few years.  With social media at the aid, you can search Facebook and have more results than you could image.  For some people,  making lanyards has become just a hobby while others have started small businesses.  But for Heavy Hauler, lanyards are more than just that.  Heavy Hauler takes lanyards and mixes in some awesome innovation.  Mixing high-quality braiding, neoprene, clips and swivels to make the Swap Out one of the most desirable lanyards on the market today.

Contains strap and two detachable braided lanyards.

What comes in the package.

The Swap Out features a Neoprene neck strap (featuring Max-4 camo and premium stitching), 2 detachable braided sections (green & tan – black & tan),  8 braided call haulers (with clips so you can position them where you would like) allowing for 4 calls to be hanging and tangled free and an additional clip for a whistle.  Have the 2 braided sections allows you to carry 4 calls on the lanyard with 4 more in your blind/pit bag.

Heavy Hauler has an accessory for this great accessory, the Quick Attach Duck Straps.  They use the same clips as the call braided section, so within seconds you have switched from calls to ducks hanging around your neck.  Great for that day when you reach your limit!  Simply undo your calls from the neck strap and clip on the Duck Straps.   You are now  ready to carry your birds back to the truck!  Watch this video of Jason Bird (Owner) as he demonstrates how to do so.

The Swap Out has become one of the most popular and sought after call lanyards since it’s introduction into the waterfowl market.  If it doesn’t say,  “Heavy Hauler”, it’s not the original Swap Out and can be found in retail stores for $34.99 which is an amazing price for such a versatile product and the Duck Straps are only $7.99!

I’m giving this lanyard a 10/10 simply because it’s everything I need with no complaints.  It’s just myself, this lanyard has been given an average of 4.8 stars from all the major sporting goods stores.

 

Delta Waterfowl Research Spans North America

dwavatarBISMARCK, N.D. — For 75 years, science has been the cornerstone of Delta Waterfowl. Research shapes the conservation programs and management policies that help put more ducks in the air, year after year.

“It’s been our history — research defines what we do,” said Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl’s president. “Research drives us and our programs, and it should always drive wildlife management. We’re committed to finding things that work.”

From duck studies to hunter satisfaction to land management, Delta Waterfowl researchers employ cutting-edge technology and science to find the breakthroughs that will shape the future of waterfowl management.

Here are the research projects that Delta is currently working on or collaborating with partners to complete.

  • California Water Scarcity: California’s water supply is highly controlled, leaving little for ducks and geese. As partners with University of California-Davis and the U.S. Geological Survey, this study probes how less water will affect wintering waterfowl populations and ultimately, could influence future water policies.
  • CRP and Landowner Attitudes: To the detriment of ducks, the Conservation Reserve Program is slowly disappearing, partly because of waning participation. This study will shed light on the views of farmers and ranchers, and how conservation management programs can be improved.
  • Predator Management: Results from 2012 demonstrated the effectiveness of predator management in the parklands of Manitoba and areas of low nesting cover in North Dakota — both known for chronically low nest success. This ongoing study continues to explore the effectiveness of trapping predators and their relationship with nesting ducks.
  • Mottled Duck Management: Mottled duck breeding success is low along the Gulf Coast — but not on manmade islands in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin. Delta researchers are studying predators and vegetation to learn why.
  • Pacific Flyway Mallards: The goal is to update data on where Pacific Flyway mallards breed and nest so future conservation and management efforts can strategically target specific habitat. Delta is partnering with Dr. Todd Arnold of the University of Minnesota.
  • Chesapeake Bay Phragmites: Phragmites compete against desirable native North American plants, negatively affecting wetlands and waterfowl. Delta is partnering with researchers at Utah State University to find out how to best manage these invasive species.
  • Wood Duck Harvest: When bag limits increase or decrease, what are the consequences on duck populations? This study in Nevada by Dr. Chris Nikolai monitors wood ducks as various hunting regulations are experimentally manipulated.
  • Winter Habitat and Breeding Ducks: In the 1980s, research found a relationship between winter habitat conditions in the lower Mississippi Valley, and breeding success the following spring. This study partners with researchers at the University of Georgia to update the data to see if the same patterns exist today.
  • ALUS Evaluation: Delta’s Alternative Land Use Services has shown great promise as a means to conserve and enhance Canadian wetland habitat. Several ongoing evaluation projects will test effectiveness and landowner reaction.
  • Hunter Satisfaction: Why are duck hunters hanging up their waders for good? Luke LaBorde of Louisiana State University surveys waterfowlers in the Mississippi Flyway to shed some light on the problem.
  • Habitat and Nest Success: LSU student researcher Maria Bianco seeks to determine how proximity to roads, field edges, abandoned buildings, tree rows and wetlands affect duck nest hatching rates in North Dakota.
  • Duck Hunters’ Thoughts: With the continual decline in waterfowl hunting participation, Delta Waterfowl is partnering with various entities to develop the capacity to assess hunter satisfaction annually.

For more information, contact John Devney at jdevney@deltawaterfowl.org(888) 987-3695 Ext. 218 or Frank Rohwer at frohwer@deltawaterfowl.org.

Hot New Gear

1.  Hard Core Decoy’s Elite Blind Bag

Elite Blind Bad by Hard Core Decoy

Elite Blind Bag by Hard Core Decoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new product for the 2013/2014 season, the Elite Blind Bag is a large sized bag for the long-staying waterfowler.  Check out some of the really cool features:

  • High-impact, waterproof bottom
  • Full featured, spacious design
  • Padded foam sides
  • External thermos or beverage pocket on the side
  • External accessory pocket with five loop choke tube holder
  • Zippered water-proof pocket
  • External clothes strap, great for rain jacket/poncho
  • External tool Velcro pocket, great for the Hardcore Loppers
  • Non-slip shoulder strap
  • Easy grip handle
  • Easy opening/closing zippers

Take a look by clicking HERE!

 

2.  Toxic Calls New Avicide Series

Avicide Duck Call by Toxic

Avicide Duck Call by Toxic Calls.

 “The design isn’t the only “sick” thing about Toxic Calls” -Phil

The Avicide series by Toxic Calls. When flare and flash is not a term in your vocabulary. The AVICIDE series by Toxic is what your looking for. The guys over at Toxic have taken their Meat and Potatoes calls the NBD, NBD2 and the TBH. They produced them in a Black with White letters or White with Black letters and put a killer price on them. These calls are the exact same calls as their super popular custom calls, they just removed the flare. With a sounds that have been turning birds to their death, these calls have been labeled “AVICIDE”.

Buy yours now at Wing Supply – only retailer to have this call!

 

3.  Dakota Decoy’s X-Treme Mallards

Flock Headed Mallards by Dakota Decoys

Flock Headed Mallards by Dakota Decoys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dakota Decoys throws a game-changing mix into your spread!

  • Most life like, hand painted finish
  • Drakes go through a 24 step painting process, and the hens go through a 16 step painting process
  • 6 different head styles in each dozen
  • Multiple heads come attached , and will spin a full 360 degrees
  •  Slightly over-sized, measuring 16” in length
  •  They have a weighted keel designed with the hunter in mind
  • Added cleat to the front of each keel to lengthen or shorten lines to the desired depth
  • Packaged in dozen packs with 7 drakes with 4 unique head styles, and hens with 2 head styles

 

4.  Heavy Hauler’s Raft O Ducks

Raft O Ducks by Heavy Hauler Outdoor Gear

Raft O Ducks by Heavy Hauler Outdoor Gear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether hunting divers,  puddlers, or honkers always be on the X with The Raft O’ Ducks decoy anchor system.  Watch it by clicking HERE!

  • Set it in many different formations.
  • Easy to get ready as well as taking it down 
  • 2 built in 1.5 lb H-shaped anchor/line keepers
  • 18-30″ drop lines with 4” snaps and large swivel clips
  • Drop lines are made of tangle resistant 400 lb mono filament 
  • 150 feet of heavy braided mainline rope

New 2013 ACTION from G&H

THE WADDLER

These new automated decoys “waddle like a duck”  and appear to be a walking and feeding duck. This realistic motion is created by a servo that is programmed to mimic feeding and waddling movement of Mallards in the field. The WADDLER is so lifelike that it creates a somewhat optical illusion whereas it is difficult to determine what decoys in the flock are not moving.  These full bodied, automated decoys can be set up on rough ground such as corn stubble and feed fields, and is also stable in strong winds.  The base is semi-waterproof and will repel light rain or wet conditions but is not meant to be submerged.

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The WADDLER is available in either HEN or DRAKE.

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Purchase includes a 6 volt rechargeable battery (much like that used on Mojo decoys) that will last approx. 25-30 hours between recharging. (No charger included)   The base includes a chord for carrying and is light for easy transport and a push button start for simple set up and continuous, programmed movement.   The battery is housed inside the base; sealed by two wing-nuts for easy access.  The WADDLER comes with a one year limited warranty.

This is a new concept in decoy realism from G&H DECOYS, a waterfowl tradition since 1934 and is still Made in America!  As with all decoys made by G&H, the WADDLER is made of high impact plastic and is guaranteed to be the best paint adhesion on the market today.

1-800-443-3269

For more info check our website (ghdecoys.com)

 

THE REVOLUTION

H200FREVThe Revolution Goose decoys move like a live goose and are available in honker, snow and speckled belly.  This motion is created by a servo that is programmed to mimic the feeding and waddling movement of geese in the field.  They are offered in either feeder or greeter head positions and can be set up on rough terrain in variable conditions including ice.  The base is semi-waterproof and will repel light rain or wet conditions but is not meant to be submerged.   These automated decoys are so lifelike that it creates a somewhat optical illusion whereas it is difficult to determine what decoys in the flock are not moving.

Purchase includes a 6 volt rechargeable battery  (much like that used on Mojo decoys that will last approx. 25-30 hours between recharging. (No charger included)  The base includes a chord for carrying and is light for easy to transport and a push button start for simple set up and continuous, programmed movement.   The battery is housed inside the base; sealed by two wing-nuts for easy access.  The REVOLUTION  comes with a one year limited warranty.

This is a new concept in decoy realism from G&H DECOYS, a waterfowl tradition since 1934 and is still Made in America!  As with all decoys made by G&H, the REVOLUTION  is made of high impact plastic and is guaranteed to be the best paint adhesion on the market today.

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1-800-443-3269

For more info check our website (ghdecoys.com)

 

THE DECEIVER

These new Automated decoys move like a real turkey and can be set up on rough terrain in variable conditions.  The motion is created by a servo that is programmed to mimic the natural movement of turkeys in the field and run near silent to not attract undo attention.  The base is semi-waterproof and will repel light rain or wet conditions.

 Available in Tom in an upright position or Hen in a feeding position.

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Purchase includes a 6 volt rechargeable battery (much like that used on Mojo decoys) that will last approx. 25-30 hours between recharging.  (No charger included)  The base includes a chord for carrying and is light for easy to transport and a push button start for simple set up and continuous, programmed movement.  The battery is housed inside the base; sealed by two wing-nuts for easy access.  The DECEIVER comes with a one year limited warranty.

This is a new concept in decoy realism from G&H DECOYS, a waterfowl tradition since 1934 and is still Made in America!  As with all decoys made by G&H, the DECEIVER is made of high impact plastic and is guaranteed to be the best paint adhesion on the market today.

1-800-443-3269

For more info check our website (ghdecoys.com)

“Creating The Perfect Storm”

kicks GOT logo large2Kick’s Industries, Inc. is a manufacturer of shotgun choke tubes that specializes in improving your shotgun patterns. Our “High Flyer” waterfowl chokes are designed to increase pattern performance while reducing muzzle jump and felt recoil. “High Flyer” chokes are manufactured from 17-4PH stainless steel and machined to precise tolerances on CNC equipment. Kick’s chokes are diagonally ported at a 135 degree angle away from the shooter, which reduce side blasts that are prevalent in ports that are 90 degrees or less. Because if it’s sharp angle, the inside forward lip grabs, stabilizes and slows the wad for faster separation of the wad and shot column. This feature combined with a parallel section where the constriction is held constant produces great patterns. “High Flyer” chokes are also available for virtually any shotgun on the market in 10, 12 and 20 gauges and are offered in Improved Cylinder, Modified, Full, and XFull. Chokes feature a black finish, are laser marked and don’t require a wrench for installation or removal. “High Flyer” chokes are designed for steel shot or any non-toxic load but will also pattern lead loads as well.

Kicks has also teamed with Federal Ammunition & the Duck Commander to offer the new Kicks “Vortex” choke tube, specifically designed to be used with Federal “Black Cloud” ammo. Kicks “Vortex” chokes are a culmination of months of engineering & pattern testing delivering dense, uniform patterns shooting “Black Cloud” ammo. “Vortex” chokes are also available in Improved Cylinder, Modified, Full & XFull constrictions as well as safe to use with any non-toxic shot. When 3 powerhouses in the waterfowl industry work together to bring you a product and Phil Robertson, the “Duck Commander” puts his signature on that product, you know it is the Real Deal! Federal “Black Cloud” ammo “Drops ducks like rain”. Kicks “Vortex” choke tubes “Create the Perfect Storm”!

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For best performance with ammunition other than Federal “Black Cloud”,you will need to use “Kicks High Flyer” chokes.

Federal “Black Cloud” ammo “Drops ducks like rain” & Kicks “Vortex” choke tubes “Create the Perfect Storm”!

You can call Kick’s at 1-800-587-2779 or check with your local dealer. You may also log on to the website @ www.kicks-ind.com

 

Happy Happy Happy

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Phil Robertson, founder and star of A&E’s most popular reality TV Show talks about his life’s journey.  From sex, drugs and Rock and Roll to a multimillionaire duck hunter.  Happy, Happy, Happy is a reference to Thomas Jefferson – “All men are created equal….life, liberty and the pursuit of HAPPINESS.”

As the nation starts to welcome Phil into their lives by watching Duck Dynasty, many of duck hunters know what the Duck Commander believes in but his new book is a no-hold, tell-all bio.  In his book he says, “Faith, Family and Ducks in that order..”.  There is no question to that as each show comes to an end, the family sits at a large table, bowing their heads to pray and eat their harvested ducks during the waterfowl season.

Phil talks more about what started his repentance and how it came about.  In a video interview with Lifeway Christian Store he says, “When I was 28, some guy with a Bible came in a beer joint that I was running, and he wanted to talk it over.  So I basically ran him out of the place.  My sister is the one that brought him and while he was at the back trying to get a bible study going with the old guy here- yours truly, my sister was up at the front handing out bible tracks.  So that created a little bit of a ruckus.  So I ran the guy off.   But later on I looked him back up.”  “So at 28, I finally sat down and listened for the first time in my life to the story of Jesus of Galilee…”

Phil’s great story tells us how he had a promising career in football but followed a calling from God.  Soon after, he invented a duck call that would begin an incredible journey to the life he had always dreamed of for himself and his family. With great love for his country, his family, and his maker, Phil has finally found the ingredients to the “happy life”.

Available at WingSupply.com

Looking for Bloggers

We are looking for bloggers to add to our writing staff here at DuckHunter.net.  Duck and goose hunting bloggers are what we are looking for.  From conservation, to do-it-yourself, to news in the industry.

What’s a blog?

A blog gives you your own voice on the web. It’s a place to collect and share things that you find interesting— whether it’s your duck hunting commentary, a personal diary, or links to web sites you want to remember.

Many people use a blog just to organize their own thoughts, while others command influential, worldwide audiences of thousands. Professional and amateur journalists use blogs to publish breaking news, while personal journalists reveal inner thoughts.

In simple terms, a blog is part of a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you.

Sounds interesting? Go to our Contact Us page and fill out the form provided or leave a message on this post with your contact method!